Activists with Planned Parenthood support a pregnant 17-year-old being held in a Texas facility seeking an abortion, in Washington, DC.
PHOTO CREDITS: J Scott Applewhite via AP
This week, an injustice was corrected through a federal court ruling that restored women’s rights to a young girl in Texas. The girl has been referred to as “Jane Doe” in legal proceedings to protect her identity and nationality since she is a minor. Jane entered the United States without any family in September and was immediately detained by US authorities and placed in a shelter in Texas for unaccompanied, undocumented immigrant minors. Shortly after, she discovered she was pregnant while in federal custody.
At 17-years-old, she had a very difficult decision to make. She obtained a state court order permitting her to have an abortion. However, federal officials had refused to transport her or temporarily release her so that others may take her for the abortion. Her decision was delayed by over a month as it was tied up in the courts. Jane released an articulate statement via the ACLU regarding her fight for justice:
"No one should be shamed for making the right decision for themselves. I would not tell any other girl in my situation what they should do. That decision is hers and hers alone. [...] This is my life, my decision. I want a better future. I want justice." ~ Jane Doe via ACLU
The authorities refused to release Jane for her appointment, saying it was not US policy to "facilitate" abortions. Her lawyers fought back siting Roe v Wade which legalized abortions and gave women the right to decide for themselves. After weeks of court battles, a federal appeals court sided with Jane and allowed her to leave the Texas facility for her procedure. With doctor’s counseling, Jane was able to successfully have her abortion the next day, which prevented the government from appealing the court’s decision, further delaying Jane’s decision, and bringing the case to the Supreme Court.
“Justice prevailed today for Jane Doe. But make no mistake about it, the administration’s efforts to interfere in women’s decisions won’t stop with Jane.” ~ ACLU lawyer Brigitte Amiri via The Guardian